Separation of Church… and technology?

In a recent article on CNET, Andrew Lloyd Weber of “Cats” fame, forwarded the notion of churches having Wi-Fi as a means of attracting people back to the House of God. At first this seemed to be a bit extreme as a method of getting folks to attend church services. The article (found at http://www.cnet.com/news/churches-should-all-have-wi-fi-says-theater-impresario) further cites that one in five Americans use their cell phones, iPads/Tablets, or other form of electronic communication device during church services. Hmm… This notion assumes that if an “establishment” provides something attractive (in this case free Wi-Fi access), it will bring “consumers” in. The idea behind churches having such a service was not so much for “use,” but rather as a means to bring people into the building to create “community.” Weber stated that once the bodies were in the church, then the work of influencing attendees spiritually would be up to the preacher. The article continues to note that many churches are unable to draw members because there is a lack of community spirit, again due to lack of membership. The popular phrase from an 80’s movie comes to mind when I first read this article… “If you build it, they will come,” or in this case, if you offer it, they will attend. Churches were originally set up as a means for people who believed in the same God to collectively worship and express their faith together. For some, this was expressed in communal prayer, while others focused on the solemnness and sacredness of silence within a church in order for their mind, heart, and spirit to reach a place of oneness with their deity. My book series, The Last Prophet, talks about the journey of one woman, called the prophetess in the series, who finds that peace and solitude through her relationship with God. Her relationship with God was rekindled not by the attraction of free Wi-Fi from her local Catholic Church, but rather in the personal connection she made with a very real person. As a counselor/advisor to many young people in the education field, I know that our youth today are vastly dependent on technology to keep them “entertained” and engaged in almost anything. Those of us who grew up in a different era when “face time” was preferred to Facebook, the notion of adding technology of this nature would present issues in the long run when instituted in a place of worship where the connection is automatically “wireless” (you don’t need internet access to connect with God the last time I checked). I could be wrong, but then again, perhaps Mr. Weber has an idea that might work for the youth of today.

What do you think? Would access to free Wi-Fi in church (and I do mean during worship services) benefit the said church’s community somehow? I would like to know. Place your comments below.

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7 thoughts on “Separation of Church… and technology?”

  1. I’ve been blessed by watching a service via online when I was home sick and couldn’t attend service. However, to be on-site AND on the computer/smartphone/iPad is disrespectful to the pastor and others. Besides, how can WiFi attract the younger crowd?
    A: Come worship with us. We have WiFi.
    B: I can get WiFi without having to go to church?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa, I think that a church that offers WiFi should keep that information as an added perk to attending worship service, rather than featuring it. Church focus is supposed to be on the worship, but for parents with kids who are reluctant to attend, perhaps this is a means to “get the kids to go” with them. It will also be up to the parents to be the ones who are the first examples of what it means to be in worship in the House of God. My church is a very small community so there is no WiFi, but I do find myself needing to keep my kids engaged in something to keep them relatively quiet.

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  2. I think it may be beneficial for the Youth Church/Youth Group of the church community, if they find a way to utilize the WiFi in a constructive manner during services and allow the Youth to play when the Pastor is not speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Melanie that it may be beneficial for Youth groups in order to build community. I have two “hyperactive” little boys who are too young to understand the depth of the messages our pastor delivers, so I’m constantly finding ways to distract them to keep them somewhat quiet. My worry, I suppose, is that once they are older they will lose interest when they discover that WiFi is not available in every church we attend. Understandably, it will be up to my husband and I to guide them so that they will know why we attend church. So far, they enjoy our little church that has no WiFi, and I’m hoping the day will not come when they need that type of distraction.

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  3. The wi-fi might draw people in but will they listen? I know myself that I can tune out everything going on around me if I am really engaged in whatever I’m doing on my computer. I guess this is something that will have to be tested for sure to find out. http://bit.ly/1xMWoBS

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  4. It feels disrespectful to me. Church is about communing with God, not the world; if anything one goes to church to momentarily forget the world and all that it entails. So no, a most emphatic “NO” to making it easier for people to update their FB status while inside their churches.

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